This is a fictional story - fast paced, exciting, richly textured with memorable characters. Yet we think you will find it more than a story. It is about your airport too. Yet those with inside knowledge - like Mel Bakersfield, the airports career-jinxed general manager - are aware of grave deficiencies. Operational areas are out molded to the point of danger; air traffic control is overtaxed; the supposedly modern glass chrome main terminal has become a whited sepulcher.
Against this background is set a dramatic, behind the scenes story of seven eventful airport hours during a mid-winter snowstorm - with pressures passions and problems of their own - who share them.
You will meet Joe Patroni, cocky and genial airline maintenance chief, striving to clear a disabled aircraft from an urgently needed runway; Air Traffic Controller Keith Bakersfeld suffering stress and conscience stricken by the memory of an air disaster for which he was responsible; Tanya Livingston passenger relations agent (an attractive divorcee) whose suspicions triggered by a sharp-eyed customs inspector, reveal an unsuspected crisis; Captain (and check pilot) Vernon Demerest, arrogant admired by women and despising "ground bound pigeons," especially Airport Commissioners; Elliot Freemantle, crusading lawyer, leading a group of home-owners incensed by airport noise; Gwen Meighen, a hot-tempered English brunette from "Stewardess Row"; Ada Quonsett, an old lady who explains her techniques as an aerial stowaway; D. O. Guerrero, a psychotic with a homemade bomb.
Arthur Hailey has employed the same multi-plot technique which he used successfully in Hotel and The Final Diagnosis. As usual, he has written an engrossing enjoyable tale, packed with little known and fascinating information: How, for example, smugglers trip themselves up with customs; how to get free drinks on economy flights; the way in which stewardess pregnancy programs work; what is an airport "Conga Line"; how much an airline will pay on the spot for a damaged luggage claim; and why airport insurance booths are hated by airline pilots . But the true hero of this novel is the airport itself viewed through the eyes of a master story teller.